All signs point to Riverside School District 96 finally taking the plunge and instituting a full-day kindergarten program for the 2022-23 school year. Families throughout the school district are no doubt rejoicing.

It’s taken years to get to this point, and school officials have been steadfast in trying to hold the line. In years past, one of the roadblocks to full-day kindergarten voiced often by officials was that there was simply no room to pull it off.

With the district spending millions in recent years to purchase property and expand the footprints of its schools, that particular hurdle became easier to clear, even at tiny Blythe Park School, which is also looking to gain more interior space by converting its auditorium into a multipurpose room.

The cost of creating a full-day program has also been cited as a reason against in the past, but the truth is Riverside District 96 is flush with cash, still reaping the financial benefits gifted to them by voters by referendum in 2004.

That referendum brought in more tax revenue than voters could have imagined back when it was being sold, and those same taxpayers have pretty clearly let school officials know that they support their money being put toward a full-day kindergarten program.

In a recent survey conducted by the school district, out of nearly 400 people responding directly to a question about the subject, 73 percent indicated they supported a full-day program. That’s what they call in politics a landslide.

The school board is slated to cast a formal vote on Feb. 16 on a recommendation by a board-created committee to move ahead with full-day kindergarten. We’re guessing it’ll pass with flying colors and District 96 can join the rest of its neighboring districts in offering what undoubtedly will be a popular program to local families.

Heartbreaking loss

Our sincere condolences go out to the family of Kendra Kuehlem and her colleagues at Brookfield Village Hall. The 27-year-old Kuehlem, who had served as Brookfield’s village planner since last April, died after being struck by a Metra train at the Prairie Avenue crossing last Friday evening.

It’s an absolute tragedy and a terrible reminder of the dangers that come with having a busy commuter and freight train line running through the heart of the community. The village experienced a similar accidental incident at the same crossing in March 2020, when an 11-year-old boy was struck by a train while crossing at Prairie Avenue.

By some miracle, Maxx Kusper survived and recovered. Kuehlem’s death was heartbreaking. 

Please be careful. Be patient.